Tag Archives: God

Joy, Where Are You?

Some mornings I can barely find the energy to get out of bed. I’m exhausted and worn out and in pain and I simply don’t want to do anything but lay there. This morning was one of those mornings. My alarm clock (AKA, my children) started screaming in my ears and I had to get up and face the world. Before I could even get out of bed, the girls were already dressed for church and chattering in their fastest, most excited voices about what they might do at church today. So, begrudgingly, I got up, showered, and got ready for church.
And I’m glad I did. 

We sang some of my favorite Christmas songs, which immediately lifted my mood a bit.

  

“I rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.”

Today’s sermon was titled, “Joy” and based on Luke 2:8-20. My first thought, from anxious and depressed mind was, “oh great, joy. That’s the last thing I want to talk about right now.” But that’s exactly why I needed to hear it. 

Luke‬ ‭2:8-20‬ ‭ESV

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

So apparently, joy is command. My pastor opened up the sermon with that and all I could think was, “great, we’re starting the morning off with something I suck at.” But as he kept talking, I understood it more. God doesn’t want me to have fake joy, like the fake smile I tend to plaster on my face when I tell everyone I’m doing great. But God wants me to a real, genuine joy – the kind that only He can give me; the kind that comes from being awestruck by an amazing God. 

  

Let me be real here for a minute, the last few weeks I have been stuck in a cycle of sadness and feeling sorry for myself. I’m having brain surgery in four days and I’m scared – really scared, about all the “what ifs” and things that could possibly go wrong. I really haven’t felt much joy at all. I haven’t been praying. I haven’t been reading my Bible. I’ve just been quietly simmering with anger at God for not making me healthy. But the more I’ve ignored God, the worse I’ve felt. The more I’ve pushed Him away, the angrier I’ve gotten. My joy has been nonexistent.

I feel like an outsider in this world, like I just don’t belong anywhere. I have some wonderful friends and great church family – but often, I just feel different, like I don’t fit in with anyone. I feel lost. My pastor’s first point today was that joy is for the outsiders. We explained how God sent His angels to the shepherds, of all people. He could’ve sent the angels to someone powerful, like a king or ruler, but He didn’t. He sent them to shepherds – to the outsiders. 

In the same way, in our current society, God doesn’t come only for the “insiders.” He doesn’t come just for the powerful and popular – He comes for the outsiders. But here’s the thing, if you really think about it – we’re all outsiders. None of us in this world are insiders; we are all OUTSIDE of Heaven. And my pastor made a good point, even the people who I look at and think have it together and appear to fit in so well – even they struggle with feeling like outsiders, it simply part of being human. And we all feel like no one else feels the way we do so none of us talk about it; but if we did, we would know we weren’t alone. 

  

So in acknowledging that others feel like outsiders as well and many of us never speak of it, how well do I reflect God to others? How well do I reflect God’s love to those who feel like they don’t belong?

The second point that my pastor made today was that joy comes from Heaven. We don’t create joy from within ourselves. I can be sad or depressed or going through a rough time and still feel joy in my heart. God is perfect and Holy and separate from us, but He is also imminent and close through Jesus. 

The glory and power of God reassuring, but it should also leave a healthy fear in us. When the angels came to the shepherds, they were scared because they felt unworthy of their holiness. But the angels told them not to be afraid, for they had new that would bring great joy. The birth of Jesus brings us joy by reminding us that even though we may be going through a rough time now, even though we’re scared, even though we feel lost, even though life is hard – a savior has come to save us. 
How much different would my life be if I believed, I mean rally believed deep in my heart, that Jesus came down from Heaven for me? 

  

Lastly, my pastor touched on having joy in the valley – this was, I felt, the most fitting part for me today. I’ve had “mountaintop experiences” – times where God’s love and glory are so apparent that I am in awe and filled with joy. The goal is to live out the joy from those mountain top experiences while we’re in the valley. God wants me to treasure His words in my heart and live my life in faith. It doesn’t sounds THAT difficult. But when you’re in the valley, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative – the fear, worry, pain, and anxiety. But God calls us to remember the things we know to be true, to remember the mountaintop, remember what His closeness feels like – those are the things that will bring us joy in the valley. 

Each day that God gives me in a gift and I should rejoice in every day – even the days when I’m in the valley. 

So let me rephrase my current thoughts and worries…

  

I’m having brain surgery in four days. I may be scared, but even if the worst happens – if I were to die, I would go Home to Jesus and have no more pain. If it’s successful, I will stop going blind and my vision will be saved. If something goes wrong and I come out of surgery with some type of disability, God will use that to glorify Him. I am scared and I really don’t want to go through with it. But just like He always does, God has me in the palm of His hand and whatever happens will not be a surprise to Him, He already knows and He will care for and provide for me no matter what.

I simply need to trust Him and find my joy in Him, not in this world.


Running from Anxiety

It was almost 3 years ago that I started running. As someone who HATED running with a fiery passion, it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. For the first time in my life o had found a healthy way to cope with my depression and anxiety…that was, until I shattered a bone in my foot. 

  
After a year of running hard, I was sidelined while I had surgery to remove the shattered sesamoid bone. This was the start of my downward spiral. All of a sudden, my coping mechanism was stolen from me and I didn’t know how to deal wmy anxiety anymore. 

Over the last 15 months, I have had 5 surgeries. After months of recovery, I’ve finally been given clearance to run again. But now, I’ve also developed plantar fasciitis. It’s incredibly painful and, at times, I can barely walk. 

I’m frustrated! I miss the feeling of the wind in my hair as I run down the road. Running gives me a sense of freedom that I can get from anything else. Running calms my anxious heart. It helps me decompress when I can’t make sense of my off the wall emotions. Running has done more for my mental health than any of my medications have. 

I’m planning on running a half marathon in 15 weeks – the Saddle Blazer half in Killeen, Texas on February 27. The Monday after thanksgiving, I’ll be starting my official training program. I’m incredibly nervous. But also so excited. 

My biggest fear with this half marathon training is that I’ll re-injure myself and have running taken away from me again. 

Running is a gift, a blessing. Don’t take it for granted. Running helps me to understand the chaos of this world. It helps me find meaning in a life that sometimes feels meaningless. It helps me connect with God in a way that nothing else can.  

   

So if you tell me I need to stop running, that it’s bad for my knees, that I need to find another way to cope…I’m going to tell you that running has changed my life and given me the courage to keep pushing even when I’m tired and scared. Quitting isn’t an option! 


Jesus, I Need You

You ever have one of those days where the enemy feels the need to remind you of every bad thing you’ve ever done in your life? Yup, today was one of those…this was my response – I had a talk with Jesus.

Jesus, I Need You
Here I stand broken
I’ve got nothing to bring
I’m holding on to the lies
Like a cat on a string
I’ve pierced my own skin
And denied Your truth
I’ve gotten lost in my mind
And I let go of You
Jesus, I need You

My stomach is empty
Poison courses my veins
My body is fading
I can’t handle this shame
You say You can reach
All the way out to me
But I feel just one step
Too far to be free
Jesus, I need You

If You know my heart
You know my evil thoughts
I once held on to You
But I let go and I’m lost
I’m trying to fight
The lies and temptations
But few things can compare
To power of starvation
Jesus, I need You

My sin is enclosing
Around my every side
The truth is fading
While I cling to the lies
I worthless and useless
You’ll never love me
The voices keep screaming
That You can’t save me
Am I too far gone
To receive Your grace
Your love and Your mercy
I’m just a disgrace
Jesus, I need You

I’m crying to You
As loud as I can
My ground has been shaken
And I can no longer stand
My voice, it cracks
As I beg You to answer
Because, Lord, if You don’t
My heart won’t endure
If You can’t save me
I have nothing left
The only choice I will have
Is to end it in death
Jesus, I need You

Then I heard Him…
“Daughter, You have me.
I’ve always been right here
So let me confront you with truth
In the midst of your fear
You are faced with two choices
Only you can make
You can wallow in pity
Or admit your mistakes
It comes down to one question
Do you believe
That I died on a cross
Nails in my hands and feet
I was scared too
Just like you are now
But even then I loved you
Enough to pour my blood out
You could never pay
The price of your own sin
My death on that cross
Is the only way You’ll see Him
I conquered death
And I took on satan
So that you could be free
From this life you are living
So tell me, is that enough
For you to trust
Will you stop fighting
And just give it up
Or are you gonna tell me
That my death was in vain
That I died on that cross
Just to feel the pain
I died for you
So that you could live
I’ve made your heart new
You’ve been forgiven
I didn’t deserve
The death I received
It was meant for you
But I took it on Me
So don’t you yet see
That I want to help you
If you’ll give me your hand
Just trust that I can rescue
You must make a choice
So what will you choose
My arms are always open
Just waiting for you.”

Jesus, I am so sorry
For my doubt and control
Please take it all
My heart, mind, and soul
I need you to heal me
I need your strength
I’m scared and confused
But I’ll trust what You say
Jesus, I need You


7-in-7 Day 5: Almost Within Reach

I want to tell a story
Of the power of grace
You may not believe it
But I’ll tell it anyway
At one time I thought
I could be good enough by myself
I didn’t need Jesus
Or anyone else

You see, not long ago
I was lost in this world
Broken by shame
I was a scared little girl
A smile on my face
Would tell the world I was fine
But the shame in my heart
Would tell me that I’m lying
I had endured abuse
And tried to take my own life
I had heard talk of God
But didn’t believe the hype
If He was so great
Why were my arms lined with scars
If He was so loving
Why was I falling apart

So I just kept on reaching
For the next thing I would need
To be happy, find peace
As I watched my soul bleed
At some point I would find it
Joy, love, and peace
If I would only try harder
It was almost within reach

“Almost within reach”
That’s a funny thing to say
It means the same thing as
“It’s too far away”

My mind was convinced
That I could fix all my problems
I didn’t really need to face it
In order to solve them
I could push them away
And ignore the burning pain
That rose in my heart
With the break of each day
It was almost within reach
I had almost achieved it
I was almost enough
I really couldn’t believe it

“Almost within reach”
Means I’d still fall on my face
When I jumped out to grab it
I’d land in a pool of mistakes
If I had only tried harder
If I had just been better
I’ll reach it one day
I’ll just try over

What was I reaching for?
What did I want to achieve?
Every time I thought I made it
I still landed on my knees
Peace, that’s what I wanted
Peace in my heart
Peace that would stay
In spite of my scars

That’s when I met grace
It was “almost within reach”
Almost, but too far
So God reached out for me
He said, “this is yours,
Stop trying to earn it.
Let me love you where you are
And you can have it.
You are a sinner
You can’t be good enough
But if you’re willing to see it
I’ll show you true love.
Look at the cross
And the love that was shown.
My Only Son gave His life
To make you my own.
To you, new life is given
It is freely yours
Only because Jesus died
To conquer the war.”

New life, grace, mercy?
What exactly did that mean?
Could I really stop trying?
Could I really “just be”?
The answer was yes
That’s all He wanted from me
God simply wanted
To give my soul peace

“Almost within reach”
Was always a lie
Peace couldn’t come
From clinging to my life

I don’t pretend to understand
Why God is who He is
I can’t fathom His greatness
All I need to know is this –
I’m not who I was
His grace changed my heart
Jesus loves me, He saved me
And He’s healing my scars
Day after day
His mercies renew
And day after day
I find peace in the truth


7-in-7 Day 2: When Memories Aren’t Real

Memories are funny
Like an image in your brain
They play over and over
Bringing tears of joy and pain
The moments are long gone
But somethings, you can’t forget
The good, the bad, the ugly
Images forever in your head
Some memories are joyous
And some are sharp with grief
Either way they ask a question
Where’s the root of your belief?

What do you remember?
What do you call truth?
Do you ever stop a wonder
If you got truth and lie confused?
We remember things we’ve seen
Things we’ve said and done
But our feeble minds aren’t perfect
And memories can come undone
What was it she said?
What was it that you saw?
Can you really trust a mind
That’s deeply prone to flaw?

Our memories can change
And we can’t recall the past
Some things we can see clearly
Some things we can’t get back
Our memories aren’t always true
That’s the wonder of our brains
They function in a way
To help us fill in the blanks

So where is your belief?
In the things you think and feel?
Or do you trust a God who’s unchanging
Who’s love is boldly real


The Scars of Abortion

I want to share a story with you. It’s a story of pain, tragedy, death, love, and redemption. It’s a story that, until now, only two people have heard. It’s a story that I have hid in my heart due to my fears of judgment or condemnation from other people. A few weeks ago, God placed it on my heart to share this story and I have been reluctant to obey. After much prayer and attempting to bargain with God, I find myself sharing the story of my abortion.

I’m not sharing this for sympathy or attention – but to acknowledge the glory of God and how He can and will redeem us from our darkest sins.

Whether you choose to believe it of not, the psychological scars of abortion are devastating.

I was twenty years old. I was in college. I was in love. I drank a lot and I didn’t know that I was hiding behind hundreds of masks to hide my true self. I didn’t know who my true self was. I didn’t believe that anyone loved me for who I was. I believed that I only deserved love if I was “good enough” to earn it. I believed that he only loved me because I did things for him. I had no faith in God. I didn’t understand who He was. I pretended to be someone whom I thought others would love. I didn’t trust people. I was lost, but I didn’t know I was lost. I thought that my boyfriend was the only person who was looking out for me and I worshiped the ground he walked on and I would have done anything for him.

I always wanted a family. My own family was dysfunctional as child and I longed to have a family of my own – a family that included a mom, dad, and child(ren). I thought, if I could just have that, my life would make more sense and I would be okay. I thought I had found true love. I thought he was the man I would marry. He seemed to be the first man I had ever been with who was interested in more than just that “one thing”. I was broken though. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but my life was in shambles and I was grasping for control.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared but I was elated. I thought that he would be happy and that we would become a happily ever after family. But I was very, very wrong. When I told him, he said that he would support whatever I chose. But he kept pushing for abortion. I was terrified of losing him and I didn’t want my child to be raised the way I was, without a father. If we had this baby, I would disappoint my family, I would never finish school, I would never amount to anything, I wouldn’t be a good mom. In short, I would be a failure. I had never given much thought to the topic of abortion in my past. I always thought I was pro-choice. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, but I always thought it wasn’t for me. The more he suggested it, the more I wrestled with whether or not I was okay with it for me. But if it was legal and our government said it was okay, I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Abortion was a way of making sure that I didn’t have to give up on my own dreams. After many weeks of coercion, I agreed to “take care of the problem”.  He never seemed to give any thought, and nor did I, to how going through with this would change our lives forever.

I sat in front of my computer, very hesitant. I didn’t know how hard it would be just to type the words “abortion clinic” into the Google search bar. The results appeared quickly and I had the name and number for the place I needed to call. I picked up my phone and dialed the number. I just stared at it for a minute, trying to give myself the courage to press send. When I did, I felt like the line rang for eternity. I was finally greeted on the other end by a young woman with a chipper voice asking, “how may I help you?” I stumbled through my words and I struggled to get them out, “I-I-I-I n-n-n-need to have and a-a-a-bortion.” She responded in that same chipper voice, “Okay, no problem. We can help you with that problem.” She then proceeded to tell me what I needed to do, how much it would cost, and how I was doing the best thing for my future. She set up my appointments and told me not to worry. She told me that everything would be back to normal once it was taken care of.

The clinic required a “pre-op” appointment. I went to that first appointment by myself. I was young, scared, and confused, but I was convinced that if I ever wanted a chance to have the life I had always dreamed of, I needed to go through with it. That appointment was overwhelming. I heard all the scientific facts of the thing growing inside of me and how this was the best thing I could do for my future. But no one ever spoke of the growing mass in my belly as a baby. No one told me that my baby had a heartbeat. No one told me that my baby could feel pain. No one told me that my baby was a baby. These are things that I wouldn’t learn until after it was over; after I couldn’t change my mind. They tried to prepare me for what my body would experience as a result of the procedure. They explained that there would be some pain involved but that after a few days I should feel pretty normal again (what they didn’t know, and neither did I at the time, is that I didn’t know what normal felt like). They explained to me that I may experience a little sadness but that would simply be the result of my hormones getting back to normal. But what they didn’t try to prepare me for was the emotional distress that would pour into my life after “my mistake was taken care of”. No one told me that the abortion really meant ripping my baby limb from limb from the warm, secure home he had, had for 11 weeks in my womb. By the time I left that appointment, they had convinced me that I was doing the right thing. The doctor and nurses promised me freedom and happiness once they had “fixed” the mistake that I had made. I was sure that if I let the thing developing inside of me turn into a baby, my life would be ruined.

I had to wait three days before I went back to the clinic for “the procedure” as they called it. But those few days felt like an eternity. I felt like an inmate on death row who was waiting for her sentence. I was terrified of what was going to happen, but I was sure that once it was over my pain would be gone. Those days dragged on in a haze of confusion and alcohol abuse. I was sure I was doing the right thing. I was sure that everything I was feeling would go away once the problem was gone.

It was like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and everyone around me promised that if I stepped off the edge, I’d find happiness, freedom, and peace. But the voices I kept hearing all around me were 100% contradictory to everything I was feeling. I didn’t know at the time that what I was feeling was love and compassion for the life inside of me. I thought I was feeling contempt for it and would be glad once it was gone. I felt trapped and I didn’t know whether to listen to the voices or my feelings. Most of my history had taught me that my feelings couldn’t be trusted, so I was quick to disregard my feelings.

I was a control freak who felt like I had lost all control of my body and my life.

So I stood on the edge of the cliff and looked over the expanse. I didn’t want to step off the edge because I didn’t know what I’d be falling in to. All I could see was endless darkness. But I also didn’t want to walk the winding path that was behind me. As I turned to assess what the scene behind me would behold, the twists and turns horrified me. I saw wild beasts that looked ready to attack if I tried to take even one step forward. Thorns and thistles lined the path and darkness consumed it. It was intimidating and terrifying, but I could see the terrors and could prepare for how to handle them. The voices inside of me told me that if I went down this path it would hurt, I would disappoint and hurt other people, and that I would fail; but those same internal voices told me that I could and should take the risk. But then there were the louder, more tangible, external voices that urged me to step out into the vast unknown oblivion. They promised me love, security, freedom, and acceptance if only I took the step off the cliff. They promised me that what I couldn’t see in the unknown was a better life, a life free of my “problem”. They told me I could trust them. In a desperate attempt to find love, safety, and acceptance, I abandoned my own feelings and decided to step off into the oblivion. But that one step left me falling into a darkness that I didn’t know how to handle.

It’s funny, really, the lies you believe when you have no foundation of truth.

The night before the “procedure” he had promised he would be with me, he promised that he would support me through the whole experience because, as he said, we were doing the right thing. But that night, I experienced the first in a long string of broken promises. He didn’t show up and I was left to wrestle with my confusing emotions on my own. I was unable to sleep as my mind kept taking me back to that cliff and the fear of the unknown that I was about to enter into.  When he arrived at my house the following morning to take me to the clinic I was filled with anxiety. My thoughts were running in so many different directions that I didn’t understand what was going on with me. I felt alone, scared, and out of control. I placed my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being into the hands of the man that I thought loved and would only do what was best for me, not knowing at the time that my safety and security were the last things on his mind. He told me we were doing the right thing, and I believed him. But if this was right, then why did I feel so wrong? If this was right, why did I feel so condemned? If this was right, how come I felt so ashamed? If this was right, how come I felt like, from that moment on, I needed to guard this secret with my life?

Entering the clinic was overwhelming. I was walking in, a scared, twenty year old, pregnant young lady and I was promised that I would be walking out as a freed and happy young adult with a bright future. I was consumed with confusion as I was greeted by smiling faces. How could they be smiling about something that felt so wrong to me? I was deceived and I didn’t know that behind those smiles were people just waiting to take the life of the unborn mass of cells that lay within my abdomen.

We had a seat in the waiting room and it felt surreal. I was buying into the promises of freedom and I couldn’t wait to reach the other side of this, to be free of the feelings that this pregnancy had brought upon me. I had been convinced that everything I was feeling was not negativity toward the procedure but actually toward the pregnancy. My name was called; I squeezed his hand, and walked through the doors that I would never walk back out of. After several needle pricks, my arms were left sore and bruised. I was asked to change my clothes and have a seat in another waiting room. This room was full of terrified girls and young women. We were all waiting to hear our names called so we could get this over with. The room smelled of shame. At the time, I assumed we were all just ashamed of our pregnancies. If you don’t know what shame smells like, step foot into the waiting room of an abortion clinic, it’s an unmistakable smell that one can never forget. A few of the ladies tried to make small talk, but mostly we all just kept to ourselves, trying to hide our faces.

One by one, our names were called and one by one our babies were murdered. Finally, it was my turn. Finally, I would be getting that freedom that I was promised.

I followed a nurse back to the “exam room”. I think death chamber is a more appropriate name. I’ll never forget this doctor as long as I live. He was wearing sky blue scrubs and a face mask. I have often wondered what he was hiding behind that mask. But what horrified me were his eyes. His eyes were like ice and it chilled me to my bones. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was in the presence of evil and my consciousness shut down.  I had made myself become numb; I felt like a zombie. I had absolutely no control over my body. The doctor and nurses spoke to me and my body responded to them, but I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. I followed orders and laid down on the table. I watched as the doctor pulled the stirrups out, placed my feet in them, and strapped my feet down. At the same time, a few nurses were on either side of me securing my arms. One nurse injected a medication into my arm that would sedate me and I felt a cold sting run through my veins. I felt as if I had just been injected with the ice from that doctor’s eyes. The medical team was busy with mindless chatter as I lay there helpless and afraid. It was as if what they were about to do to me meant absolutely nothing to them. But I still thought they were helping me. One of the nurses urged me to close my eyes and promised I would be asleep before anything started. That’s when I felt the doctor touching me and I felt a warm tear streak across my cheek. The doctor said, “this will be cold,” as he pushed the frozen ultrasound probe inside of me. I felt like I had been penetrated by the evil I saw in his eyes; but he was helping me, right? My mind was starting to feel cloudy and I was beginning to lose consciousness and that’s when I heard the doctor’s voice again. “Wow, that’s a strong heartbeat. Oh, no wonder, there’s two.” It was in that moment that I changed my mind. I tried to speak and struggle free. My mind was screaming, “let me go, let me go,” but the drugs they had given me had done their job; I was too weak and disoriented and my eyes closed. The last thing I heard was the distinct sound of two very strong, very healthy heartbeats.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up to extreme pain and I heard the humming of the torture device that was ripping my babies from their home. I tried to scream, but nothing would come out. Then I felt that cold, evil sting in my arm once more and I was again unconscious. The next time I awoke, I was being forced from the exam table to a wheel chair. One of the nurses pulled on my arm and almost yelled for me to “wake up and move.” I groggily followed orders, still unable to comprehend what was happening. Was it over? Was I fixed? Was I free? As I stood up, I was overcome with pain and I nearly collapsed into the waiting wheel chair. This was their first time in my life that I had ever been blinded by pain. This is when I first realized that I was falling and I couldn’t catch myself. But I was sure that those promises of freedom, love, and happiness still waited for me.

I was moved to a recovery room where four recliners sat side by side. Three of the chairs were already filled with shamed and hurting young women who had, like me, unknowingly just committed the biggest mistakes of their lives. I painfully made my way into the chair and quickly fell back to sleep. I was only vaguely aware of the busyness around me as everyone else seemed to go about their business. As I opened my eyes again, a male nurse approached me, sending me into a panic. He had the same icy eyes as that doctor; however his voice was much gentler. He told me that it was time for me to get dressed and leave. My head was foggy and my legs were unstable, but I felt sure that as soon as I could get out of this place, I would experience the freedom I was promised. No one had prepared me for the amount of physical pain I would be in. I got dressed and was only able to half listen to the instructions the nurse was giving me. He then walked me to the back door and led me out of the building where I found my boyfriend waiting to take me home. At the time, I wondered why we weren’t allowed to leave out the front door after the procedure, now I realize that they don’t want the young women in the waiting room to see the pain and despair on our faces – that might lead them to change their minds. That’s why they made us use the back door.

I had expected him to take me in his arms and tell me how much he loved me. I had expected him to embrace me and tell me he was sorry for my pain. I had expected him to comfort and protect me. But all I really got was silence. More broken promises. Where was my freedom? I felt more bound, confused, and ashamed than ever. I couldn’t even look at him. On our way home we stopped for lunch and I looked at him, with hatred in my voice and said, “it was twins.”

I didn’t realize then, how much I already loved them.

The weekend was a blur of pain, sleep, and crying. I hated sleeping because I was overcome with grief in every nightmare. I caught glimpses of the baby boy and girl that I had just killed. They wanted to know why I didn’t love them. They wanted to know why I had killed them. They wanted to know why. And so did I. But when I was awake, I was in such a tremendous amount of pain that I could barely move. I was sure though, that I deserved this pain. The babies in my nightmares told me I did too. Being awake and facing the physical pain was better though than being asleep and having to see their small, mutilated bodies crying at me. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t think I would survive. I truly believed that this pain would literally kill me. And a part of me hoped it would. I didn’t believe in God at that point. I thought God hated me and had forsaken me many years before. But I cried out to Him, asking Him why He was doing this to me.

He stayed with me for most of that weekend. I probably would have taken my own life if he hadn’t. Two days was not enough time to heal, but I told myself it had to be. Monday rolled around and I had to convince myself that I was fine. I had to forget the pain and move on. After all, I had been promised freedom and I was determined to find it.

The promises were all broken. My boyfriend’s support quickly dwindled as did my trust and faith in him. I had placed my body in his hands and allowed him to control me and he shattered every fiber of my being. I was determined to never be that vulnerable again. I was determined that no one would ever have that kind of control over my life again. I was determined to regain control of my own life.

The promises that the doctor and nurses made to me about love, acceptance, safety, and freedom were all lies. It was never about love, it was about death. It was never about acceptance, it was about alienation. It was never about safety, it was about fear. It was never about freedom, it was about bondage.

In an attempt to cope with and hide my pain, I turned to drug and alcohol abuse and I also struggled with self-harm and bulimia. These things only deepened my shame and left me bound in my despair. I did all I could to avoid feeling the pain.

This story took place just over 6 years ago – January 11, 2008. In these past 6 years I have hidden and run from much of the pain I have felt.

I stepped off that cliff and I started falling. I was terrified by what the impact would look like once I finally hit the ground. Would I break and shatter and lose it all once again? Or would God’s loving arms catch me before the impact could ruin me?

I choose to believe that God will catch me. No other promise has felt as secure as that one.

Facing the pain of the abortion was hard. It was, after all, a choice that I made. I cried many tears and yelled at God many times. But trusting in myself and what I could do had obviously not been helpful, so the only choice I had left was to trust the God who said He could heal me.

I think we get so bound by our shame that we convince ourselves that IF God is real, He can’t forgive this and that we are hopeless. But that’s why I wrote this, it’s not hopeless and you are forgiven. You just have to trust Him. Trust is hard and can sometimes be painful, but it’s worth it.

It is only by trusting God and allowing Him to show me the depth of my sin and shame that I have been able to find freedom. I have worked through the “Surrendering the Secret” Bible study and Celebrate Recovery step studies. Those, along with lots of prayers and tears, have helped me to understand who God is and who He says I am. The shame of abortions is real and it is deep. Most women hide it so deep that they don’t even realize how much they’re still hurting.

I hid it for 5 years before I realized how much I was still hurting from it. After 5 years of hiding the pain so deeply, I had forgotten how to feel it. It’s taken this past year to work through and process all of the shame and emotions I’ve felt.

It’s odd really, when women choose abortion they choose it because they don’t believe that they have any other option. We’re promised freedom, but what we find is the furthest thing from it.

I’m sure there will be controversy about the topic of this post, and I’m okay with that. My goal isn’t to make everyone happy, but to simply share my story in hopes to help someone else. I want it to be known that I will not engage on any arguments or debates and any condemning comments will be deleted.


You Lead, I’ll Follow

Finding God’s will for your life is hard….but I think that’s the problem. We’re all looking so hard to do great things for God that we miss the small opportunities that He gives us. We miss the ways in which He is using us now. We want to serve Him in magnificent ways, and we seems to somehow forget that sometimes, the most magnificent service is the mundane, ordinary, and boring everyday tasks that not many people want to do.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

I get stuck sometimes…frustrated…because I want to serve God. I want to share Him with everyone around me and tell people all that He has done in my life. But sometimes, that just means living my life, trusting Him to get me through every day, raising my children to know and love Him, honoring him in my relationships with other people. Most often, He asks us to serve Him in ways where we don’t even realize we are serving Him.

Luke 16:10 – One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

I think, at least for me, the biggest focus should be on trusting Him to get me where I need to be. I hate stepping out of my comfort zone, but some of the best memories I have are when God has used me to serve Him in areas that extend from my comfort zone. God has recently presented me with another opportunity to serve Him. It’s an opportunity that I am excited about…but it is also an opportunity that asks me to exit my comfort zone and trust Him more. It’s an opportunity for God to continue to show me how faithful and trustworthy He is. It’s an opportunity for me to extend to others the grace, love, and mercy that have been extended to me.

Matthew 20:28 – Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

God has given me passions and dreams and He has gifted me in certain ways. It is my job, no matter how small or how large, to use my gifts in a way that honor and serve Him.

You Lead, I’ll Follow
Where do You want me
My heart wants to know
Is it here, is it there?
Guide my steps as I go
I’ve walked around blindly
Looking for Your will
All the while You were asking
That I simply be still
Am I longing to serve You
Because of Your grace and mercy
Or do I seek recognition
Which is just serving me
I ask You to search me
Show me the truth
Take away anything
That’s not pleasing to You
You say You will use
The wounded and weak
So here I stand now
Ready to hear You speak

When I was lost
You brought me Home
You showed me love
When I thought I was alone
My heart, once empty
Has been filled to me brim
With the life You gave me
When You freed me form sin
I’m not who I was
And I’m no longer in chains
I’m not bound to my past
You took away all my shame

So let me take this new life
And make it be known
With my Father, my God
I’m never alone
Bring me to places
That will challenge my fears
Through the thick and the thin
I know You’re right here
So wherever You want me
That’s where I’ll go
No questions asked
You lead, I’ll follow


7-in-7 Day 3: Safe

Safe
Do you ever feel like you’re drowning
Under the weight of your choices?
And you just want to ignore
The condemning voices
You want freedom from sin
But your too afraid to let go
What if living this way
Is better than the unknown?
If you’re not in control
You don’t know what comes next
But at this very moment
You could take your last breath

Let me tell you this truth
And just let it sink in
You’re not in control of your life
Without God, you can’t win
You can’t save yourself
You can’t try hard enough
Doing it on your own
Will leave you giving up

So give up, it’s okay
That’s all God asks for
Give Him the life that you have
And He won’t ask for more
Your sins and mistakes
He will take those away
If you’ll only commit
To doing life His way

It’s easy in theory
Harder in action
To let go of your own will
And trust in His salvation
He knows what you need
He won’t settle for less
And knows you’re a sinner
And your life is a mess

But still He loves you
Just as much as before
He’s still there waiting
Gently knocking your door
He just wants you to open
Let Him into your life
He already knows you
So remove your disguise

Trust in the grace
He pours out every day
When you’re falling, let go
Just let Him keep you safe

Background: I’m tired of being the old me…the me I don’t want to be anymore…the me that hates myself…I choose to believe who God says I am and to rest in Him to find safety!


7-in-7 Day 2: Lies vs. Truth

Lies vs. Truth
Lies are infections
They snuck into my life
Looking so much like truth
I believed their disguise
After too many years
Living behind guilt and shame
I can finally see that the lies
And the truth aren’t the same
The lies took my freedom
They took too much of my time
So now I’m taking back
What’s rightfully mine

The lie says, “Try harder.
You’re not good enough.”
But the truth says, “Stop trying.
You’re already loved.”

The lie says, “You’ve failed.
You can’t do anything right.”
But the truth says, “Success.
Stop trying to fight.”

The lie says, “You’re alone.
No one will ever understand.”
But the truth says, “Have faith.
Just hold out your hand.”

The lie says, “You’re guilty.
You made the wrong choice.”
But the truth says, “Innocent.
You never had a voice.”

The lie says, “You’re shameful.
Look at what you’ve done.”
But the truth says, “Forget it.
Your freedom’s been won.”

The lie says, “You’re hopeless.
You’re too lost to be saved.”
But the truth says, “Have hope.
The price was already paid.”

The lie says, “Give up.
You’re just a disappointment.”
But the truth says, “Just trust.
You were made for a purpose.”

The lies stole my joy
And they hid me in darkness
But with the truth I’ll fight back
And with the truth I will beat this
I’m not bound by lies
The truth I have is stronger
I am loved by a God
Who says I belong here
I am honored and cherished
And He fights for me
Goodbye, lies, so long
From now on, I’ll be free

faithBackground:
Before I was Christian, I couldn’t even see the possibility of a better that God wanted to offer me because I was so blinded by the lies that had consumed me from childhood. But as I began to understand who God was, one-by-one, the lies were replaced with truth. I still struggle though, with believing the lies instead of the truth because that’s what my mind has become so used to…and I’m tired. I had a really intense session with my therapist today and it left me feeling pretty emotionally drained. But through today’s session, I was forced to look at how many of the lies of my past that are still consuming me. So, now, I am fighting back…and all I need to win the fight is the truth of a God who loves me.


7-in-7 Day 1: Hold on to the Promise

7-in-7 Day 1….I’ve been in a poetry rut lately, glad for 7-in-7 to help draw it back out of me.

The Promises
As a child she was confused
She just didn’t understand
Why she always felt scared
Lost in a foreign land
There were times that she prayed
Hoping maybe He’d hear
That He’d reach down to her
And remove all her fears
But she didn’t trust
And she believed even less
That God cared for her
Her life was a mess

That scared little girl
Became lost as a teen
Blinded by the anger
From the hurt she had seen
She learned to smile
Through the ache in her soul
Convinced it’d get better
If she had more control
She hid all her emotions
She was too afraid to feel
But when you hide for too long
You forget what is real

So into adulthood
She carried the lies
And she blurred the line
Between truth and disguise
She tried all she could
To find approval and praise
But she never could see
She wouldn’t find it that way
With all that she had
She wanted to believe
“God, if you’re really there
Please come to me.”

Because He is faithful
And true to His Word
He showed her His love
Like He said He would
When she was dying
Drowning in shame
He came down beside her
And He bore her pain
He carried her out
Of the darkness she lived
Showed her she was made
For more than just this

You see, this is a story
I know all too well
Life without God
Was my living hell
Every sin that I had
Weighed down on my back
I tried to save myself
But the ability’s what I lacked
He gave me love
When I deserved death
And He showed me grace
When I had nothing left

The moral of my story here,
It’s as simple as this:
At the end of your rope
Just hold on to the promise
The promise of love
The promise of hope
The promise that no matter what
He won’t let you go


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